Public Input Wanted For Dan River Restoration

Public Input Wanted For Dan River Restoration

8:13pm Oct 21, 2014
On Sunday, February 2, 2014, a Duke Energy coal ash pond located on the Dan River near Eden, N.C., began discharging into the Dan River. The spill is the 3rd largest coal ash spill in U.S. History. -- Picture credit: Courtesy of Yadkin Riverkeeper

A group of environmental agencies wants public help to restore the Dan River after a massive coal ash spill in February.

The group partnered with Duke Energy and released a report earlier this month with some initial proposals and members are looking for more ideas.

Among other findings, the report highlighted a project to restore fish and other wildlife in the river, as well as buying wetlands to filter out any pollutants before they reach the water way. There's also an idea to encourage fish migration in order to replenish those that were lost in the spill.

Sara Ward is an ecologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Raleigh. She says the Dan River spill created a loss for the public, too, because now use of the river is limited. She says that’s why they’re seeking public input on potential restoration opportunities. “Our goal is just to learn what’s out there and to learn what projects might best offset those natural resource injuries that might have occurred with the goal of offsetting those losses.”

As part of a settlement with the EPA, Duke Energy has to pay for the ongoing cleanup costs and restoration efforts. Ward says it’s too early to know the full extent of the damage. The February 2 spill dumped around 39,000 tons of coal ash in the Dan River.

The deadline to submit suggestions is November 14.



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